Osage Orange Sawdust Instructions

Fiber Preparation and Mordanting

We offer scouring and mordanting instructions for wool, alpaca, silk (protein), cotton and plant (cellulose) fibers. Your fiber should be scoured and mordanted before dyeing.

Extracting the Dye

Weigh 30% osage sawdust on the weight of fiber. Add to a small stockpot with approximately 1 quart of water, depending on the amount of osage sawdust. Bring to 175 degrees F and hold for 15 minutes. Carefully strain the stockpot, reserving the osage sawdust and saving the liquid. Add more water to the stockpot and add the reserved osage sawdust. Bring to 175 degrees F and hold for 15 minutes. Strain the stockpot again, reserving the osage sawdust and saving the liquid. Depending on the strength of the osage sawdust, you may repeat steps 5-7 two or more times until the liquid is clear, indicating that all the dyestuff has been extracted. Dispose of the osage sawdust (it may be composted). The reserved liquid is your dye bath and you may now proceed to dyeing.

Adding Fibers to the Pot

Fill the dye pot with water so that the fibers move easily. Add the extracted liquid and stir well. Add the wet, mordanted fibers to the cold dye pot and begin heating the water and bring to about 90 degrees F (33 degrees C), rotating the goods gently. Hold at this warm temperature for 30 minutes, then bring the temperature up gradually to 180 degrees F (80 degrees C), rotating gently. Hold at this temperature for 30-45 minutes rotating regularly.


Using the same temperature water as your fiber, rinse the dyed goods once or twice to remove excess dye, then wash gently in a neutral liquid soap. Dry away from direct sunlight.

Reusing Dye Baths and Disposal of Dye

Any exhaust baths with dye color left in them may be used to dye additional materials. I keep extra small skeins of mordanted wool yarn and throw those into the exhaust baths. There will usually be some residual color in the dyebath, even after using the exhaust bath. Dispose of the used dye baths in accordance with your local municipal guidelines.